Friday, 9 August 2019

Wanted: A second salt Satyagraha

A second salt satyagraha is the need of the hour in order to get rid table salt of all harmful substances.
Universal iodization is part of a larger marketing gimmick and conspiracy to sell refined salt as “iodized salt”, and it has successfully killed the sale of natural salt, which is abundantly available in our country.

In addition to this they are adding toxic drug compounds like potassium ferrocyanide as anti caking agents, which is already being prohibited by countries like United States and Great Britain due to the toxic substance in it.

The natural salt contains moderate amount of iodine, and therefore there is no need for adding artificial iodine. But, when the salt is refined and stripped of its essential elements, which are naturally present, the salt manufacturers use artificial iodine as a camouflage to market it as iodine-rich.

The politics of salt has hardly received the kind of attention it deserves in this country. Despite being such an essential commodity, successive governmentshave allowed market forces to use salt for their vested commercial interests.

In the year 1962, the National Goiter Control Programme (NGCP) was launched by the Government of India in order to provide iodized salt to the population living in goiter-prone areas like in the Himalayan region. This opened up new vistas to big Indiancorporates to exploit the masses in the name of iodized salt. They entered the salt manufacturing industry, producing vacuum salt, which is nothing but industrial waste masquerading as edible salt.

In his book, titled “Could universal iodisation of salt be the chief cause of hypertension assuming epidemic proportion?,” retired Col Rajesh Chauhan has concluded that universal iodisation of salt could be increasing the risk of high blood pressure, a leading cause of heart ailments.The study included patients who were consuming iodised salt regularly, and were compared with another group who were not using iodised salt.

The Salt Commissioners’ Organization, under the Ministry of Commerce & Industry (Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion), used to be the regulatory body for salt trade in India. That remained so until 2006, when the Salt Commissioner abdicated its responsibility of ensuring salt standards to FSSAI, giving a free hand to big corporate houses to sell vacuumsalt.

FSSAI, on its part, lowered the standards for edible salt to be sold in the country. And today, the situation is such that any powder/granules containing sodium and chloride can be passed off as edible salt. Accordingly, FSSAI turned a blind eye to the selling of vacuum salt, which is nothing but industrial waste derived from chemical processes. 

Pure salt

It is recognized fact world over that India has huge deposits of natural salts in its lake situated at Sambhar, Rajasthan. The higher authorities, including the Salt Commissioner, was well aware of the fact that the salt in Sambhar Lake is far superior with rich nutrients and essential minerals.

Though the government-owned Hindusthan Salts Ltd, and its subsidiary Sambhar Salts, sought to harness the salt resources available in Sambhar Lake, the benefits did not percolate to the common man, primarily because of the apathy of authorities in popularizing and making efforts to sell the natural salt. What instead happened was big industrial houses took advantage by selling industrial salt. These companies market residue of industrial salt as pure salt. The residue of chemical process is called industrial waste. There are rules for disposing industrial waste, like disposing them to deep sea. 

However, these industrial salt manufacturers, in connivance with the government authorities, declared that the residue actually contains sodium chloride, which is salt meant for human consumption as per revised standards fixed for quality of common salt in India. In effect, by just comparing the common salt ingredient as sodium chloride, the residue is being sold as common salt in India. 

Hindusthan Salts Ltd, under whose control is the salt in Sambhar Lake, is a loss-making organisation. Both the parent company and its subsidiary, Sambhar Salts, are considered as BIFR-referred Company fit to be closed. While the salt manufactured and sold by this government enterprise fetches a price of about Rs 300 to 500 per quintal, the private salt manufacturers are able make insanely huge profit by selling salt at Rs 10.00- 15.00 per kilo. One can only wish that this government enterprise is given sufficient freedom to exploit salt available in Sambhar Lake, which is one of the purest forms of natural salt available today.

“The giant corporate players, for their commercial motives, have been selling substandard salt in India at huge price, giving two hoots about the health of the masses. It is high time the public at large are sensitized to the need for the consumption of natural salt. Mahatma Gandhi led his Salt Satyagrahain 1930, as part of the freedom struggle of India. It is time for a second Salt Satyagraha in the larger interest of this country. A Satyagraha to redeem our natural salt.

Friday, 2 August 2019

Potassium Ferrocyanide - a category three drug not for human consumption by FDA

TATA Salt’s claim that Potassium Ferrocyanide, or E536, as it is mentioned in their packets, is an approved food additive in the US and Europe is a distorted fact. 

Potassium Ferrocyanide falls under the category 3 of bulk drug substances under section 503A of Federal Food and Drugs Authority (FDA).

“Category three states: These substances may be eligible for inclusion on the 503A bulks list, but were nominated without sufficient supporting information for FDA to evaluate them. These substances are not eligible for the policy that applies to substances in Category 1 - these substances may be eligible for inclusion on the list of bulk drug substances that can be used in compounding under section 503A, were nominated with sufficient information for FDA to evaluate them).”

“FDA would consider taking action against a compounder for compounding drug products with this bulk drug substance under its general enforcement policies,” says official website of FDA. Now how can you claim that it is safe?” What are the health benefits that a citizen gets by consuming salt with potassium ferrocyanide?

How can then Codex Alimentarius and further FSSAI declare it as a safe substance? Codex claims that it is safe as it is used within permissible limit. What are the supporting information Codex has to buttress its claims? The FDA approved anti caking agents are calcium silicate, Iron ammonium citrate and silicon dioxide.

E536 or Potassium Ferrocyanide contains toxic substances, the reason why it has already been banned in Great Britain, he added adding that industrial salt lobbies have destroyed the indigenous salt industry in India and government has turned a blind eye towards them. Natural salt comes with 84 varients of minerals, against the refined salt that comes with various chemical compound, which anyway is harmful to human being. 

The fact is that Tata Salt has not denied using Potassium Ferrocyanide in its salt. The company has only stated that this component is safe because it is added within the limits prescribed by the government. But, the Indian government’s own regulations on food safety are based on Codex Alimentarius

Codex Alimentarius is a WTO body which sets international standards for drugs, food, supplements, etc. Ever since its inception, it has come under criticism, from various organisations such as the Alliance for Natural Health Europe, over its plans to destroy organic and natural foods.

California-based National Health Federation has revealed that Codex delegations are normally set up by government officials at the behest of the industry. So ultimately it is the industry which decides on how to vote or what proposals to make on any given subject. Often, government officialsare not competent or knowledgeable enoughon matters of public health as they are seen toeing the line set by industry lobbyists.

The Manifesto on the Future of Food states: “Bureaucracies like the Codex Alimentarius have codified policies designed to serve the interests of global agribusiness above all others, while actively undermining the rights of farmers and consumers.

In the backdrop of the dubious distinction ofCodex Alimentarius and its suspected efficacy, it is high time India’s food and health regulations are amended scientifically instead of basing them on global organizations with questionable records.

Wanted: A second salt Satyagraha

A second salt satyagraha is the need of the hour in order to get rid table salt of all harmful substances. Universal iodization is pa...